I enjoy blogging. Twice each week, I have the chance to spend a bit of time articulating my position on a financial topic, then get a variety of smart people to respond with their $0.02 on the subject. Sometimes there will be a bit of back and forth on the day of the posting (or for really
inflammatory controversial posts for weeks or months afterward).
Often the best part of blogging (for the blogger) is that we choose what is being discussed (for our own posts at least). Discussion forums become far more democratic where anyone can start a topic they’re interested in, and if they can attract enough interest, pick other readers’ brains and get some alternative points of view on the issue.
Five places I’m aware of, and have participated in conversations at, are:
- Canadian Business Online: This is the grand-daddy and has been around forever. Forums are focused on topics from taxes to stock discussions, frugality to starting a business. Derek Foster will often interact with fans (and foes) here and whatever your question is, if it’s about finance someone can probably give you a decent answer or point you in the right direction. It’s been around FOREVER and is quite large, so it can be a bit overwhelming for newbies.
- Canadian Money Forum: I’m not 100% sure what their original motivation was for starting this (I would have guessed that running their successful blogs would have kept them busy enough), but the Canadian Capitalist and Million Dollar Journey started this up. It’s like the Pepsi to Canadian Business Online’s Coke: the choice of a new generation. Very similar discussions, but quite a bit more intimate. It gives a chance to interact directly with a number of bloggers as well as Canadian finance celebrities like Jon Chevreau.
- DRiP Investing Resource Center: This forum is focused almost entirely on dividend reinvestment plans, but because of its focus it provides AMAZING information. Basically anything you could possibly want to know about DRiPping is answered here. Although the site supports Canadian and American DRiPs, most of the people there seem to be focused on Canadian companies. They also facilitate stock exchanges between users (which allow investors to cut their investments fees down to almost nothing, although it’s more time consuming than using a broker). The veteran members are very knowledgeable about DRiPs (and willing to help), but have a tendency to be unpleasant to some rookies (and to be VERY set in their ways).
- My REIN Space Forums: The “Real Estate Investment Network” (R.E.I.N.) was set up by Don Cambell to sell real estate information and mentoring to aspiring real estate investors. I heard one of his speakers at a seminar one time (and met a number of members through other venues) and didn’t get a good feeling about the organization. The bulk of his talk amounted to generating goodwill by buying a turkey for his tenants at Christmas (wow). It has been recommended to me on a number of occasions by other people I’ve met, so SOME people must find it worthwhile. The forums have a public area, as well as a members-only area. While I haven’t participated or read posts here extensively, there seems to be some good info (and knowledgeable people) posting in the public areas, so this would be worth checking out if you’re interested in real estate info.
- It Sucks to be a Landlord in Ontario!: I just found this recently and I think it should be required reading for anyone who wants to get into real estate investing. Basically it’s a support group for Ontario landlords, where they swap war stories and complain about how skewed towards tenants the province’s laws are. It’s a great resource to give aspiring landlords a dose of reality (such as how little good giving your tenants a turkey will do). There’s a few threads where they start beating the war drum to begin advocating on behalf of the province’s landlords, but I suspect that won’t amount to much (they’ve got a pretty poor choice of a name if they want to go that route).
It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyways) that these forums are filled with regular people who, although well-intentioned for the most part, are as likely as Mike or I to give you incorrect advice :-).
Where do you go online to chat about finances in a Canadian specific context? Any experience with these (good or bad)? Any suggestions for sites not mentioned?